What Are Iron Infusion Side Effects?

If you suffer from a condition like iron deficiency anemia, it is important to find a way to treat it to safely do the things you love to do every day. While there are a number of different ways to try and treat iron deficiency anemia, many of them aren’t that effective at getting you back on your feet right away. Iron infusion via an IV is the fastest and most effective way to rebuild your iron levels and help to reverse your anemia. However, while it is effective, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to look out for when getting an iron infusion via IV.

Concierge MD is dedicated to giving our clients the highest quality care and information they need to safely make the right decisions for their health. In this post, we are going to discuss getting iron infusion treatment for iron deficiency anemia, the potential side effects, how to avoid them, and how to determine if someone has iron-deficiency anemia.

What is iron-deficiency anemia?

There are multiple types of anemia. Anemia is a condition where the blood does not contain enough healthy red blood cells. Potential side effects of anemia include fatigue, low energy, fainting, and even birth defects if a pregnant woman suffers from the condition.

Iron deficiency anemia is when there is not enough iron in the blood to create a substance known as hemoglobin that is necessary for cells to carry oxygen. Patients who suffer from this condition are left fatigued and short of breath.

Who should get an iron IV infusion?

While iron deficiency anemia is fairly common and can be caused for a number of reasons, the first thing to make sure of is that you have been properly diagnosed with iron deficiency. Taking iron when you don’t need it and taking too much iron can cause a condition known as iron toxicity which we will discuss later.

Anyone who has been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia is likely a good candidate for iron IV infusions. However, particular circumstances make an infusion the best choice. An IV infusion is the best choice for those who have suffered traumatic blood loss and need to replace iron quickly.

Other situations include those with iron absorption disorders because oral supplements simply won’t have enough iron in them to do the job. Some women suffer anemia during pregnancy and may need iron infusion, as well as some cancer patients, dialysis patients, and people with internal bleeding, lacerations to the stomach, or ulcers.

Minor side effects of iron infusion

With every treatment, there is a risk of side effects, but thankfully, with iron infusion, the standard side effects are minor and usually go away within a few hours. Here are some of the potential side effects of the treatment: bloating and swelling in the face and the extremities (arms, legs, hands, and feet), dizziness/difficulty standing, nausea, stomach cramps, shortness of breath, chest pain, mild skin irritation, and low blood pressure.

There is also the rare potential that a person has an iron allergy, resulting in anaphylaxis. This should be diagnosed beforehand, but if not, it should be treated right away to avoid severe complications.

What is iron toxicity?

Iron toxicity is the term for when a person has ingested too much iron to the point where it has become toxic or poisonous. It is also called iron poisoning. It is typically a concern for small children who accidentally ingest pills or supplements that contain iron.

It is possible to contract iron toxicity as a side effect of IV infusions. The reaction from the toxicity can be different based on how much iron was given and how quickly the onset of the symptoms was. In extreme cases, a person may go into anaphylactic shock and will require immediate treatment.

In other cases, the iron may build up in a person’s system over time, causing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, and even hematemesis or the vomiting of blood. If any of these symptoms manifest, it is good to seek treatment from your doctor right away.

It is important to note that iron toxicity does not typically occur from iron infusions in patients with diagnosed low iron unless they are receiving iron from other sources, so the chances of iron toxicity, while still present, are quite low.

How to avoid iron toxicity

The first step in making sure to avoid iron toxicity is to have an up-to-date test that confirms that you have been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, typically within the past month. Once you have confirmed your diagnosis and have decided on IV infusion as your form of treatment, it’s a good idea to discuss your options, how much iron you may need, and whether or not you’re taking other sources of iron.

While we do get some iron from iron-rich foods, the most common reason for iron toxicity is from taking supplements on top of the infusion. At Concierge MD, we have trained medical professionals ready to talk with you and discuss your situation, and when you order an at-home IV infusion from us, we’re there with you through the entire process.

It is also a good idea to have your iron levels regularly tested after an infusion to ensure you are not at risk of toxicity and plan out future treatments, especially if you have a chronic condition requiring regular iron infusions.

How to know if you have iron-deficiency anemia

The only way to check for iron deficiency anemia is by having lab tests run by your doctor. There are no at-home tests. Even symptoms that seem similar to iron deficiency anemia can be attributed to another illness, so it is important to always get proper lab tests.

If you are having difficulty getting the tests you need, Concierge MD can help schedule testing so that you have everything you need when you’re ready for your first iron IV infusion.

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Intravenous iron therapy is a convenient and effective method to restore normal iron levels in your body. Our medical care professionals come to your location to administer treatment.

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